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Claim the Book of Mormon is “inspired fiction” & still be exalted to Celestial Kingdom?


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38 members have voted

  1. 1. Grant Hardy (FAIR Presentation)

    • I’m LDS and I believe Grant Hardy is WRONG—among other things, one must affirm belief in historical “Nephites” to inherit the Celestial Kingdom
      4
    • I’m LDS and I believe Grant Hardy is RIGHT—one can believe the Book of Mormon contents to be “inspired fiction” and still inherit the Celestial Kingdom
      19
    • I’m LDS & and this poll makes me uncomfortable and/or I think the pollster is incompetent, doesn't understand Mormonism, etc.
      7
    • I’m not LDS
      8


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On 8/20/2016 at 3:18 PM, orangganjil said:

I think Joseph believed his claims of angelic visitation and that he believed the physical artifacts (plates) were legit. Whether his experiences actually happened, I do not know for sure, but I accept his witness that they did occur, and I believe that, at the very least, to him they occurred.

Okay.  That clarifies things a bit.  Thanks.

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I must have been less clear than I could have been. I did not mean to call what Joseph did a fraud. I don't believe it was a fraud and I believe he was sincere in his beliefs.

If we put aside, for the moment, what Joseph Smith sincerely believed, and instead go with what you think actually happened, does your above answer change ("Whether his experiences actually happened, i do not know of sure...")?

There are different flavors of fraud.  There's straight-up fraud ("deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain"), fraudulent concealment ("the deliberate hiding or suppression, with an intention to deceive or defraud other persons of a material fact or circumstance by a person which s/he is legally bound to disclose"), fraudulent nondisclosure (misrepresentation by omission of a fact where a duty to disclose exists), negligent misrepresentation (misrepresentation of information based on negligence or lack of reasonable care), and so on.  I'm not sure which category would best suit the "pious fraud / mentally ill or delusional person who could not differentiate between reality and hallucinations"-style characterizations of Joseph Smith.  Perhaps none of them.  A mentally ill person generally lacks the requisite mens rea (guilty intent) to commit a wrongful act.

But perhaps that is neither here nor there.  I am trying to figure out how people who reject the LDS Church's teachings account for the Gold Plates, and for the various statements by Joseph Smith, the Witnesses, Mary Whitmer, and Emma Smith regarding the physical reality of the plates.  

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I was trying to demonstrate that Joseph's sincere comments in a private letter to Emma seem to refute the claim by some that it was a fraud, because he seems to truly believe what he is saying. It seems to indicated that he sincerely believed in the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

I agree with you.  There are also folks in and out of the Church who reject the historicity of The Book of Mormon but accept Joseph Smith's sincere belief that he had actually discovered an ancient artifact, a physical, tangible set of plates with volume and mass.  But what I do not understand is the "Pious Fraud" explanation for Joseph Smith.  If he was sincere-but-wrong (there were no angelic visitations, no buried plates, etc.), where did the physical artifact seen by the Witnesses and by Emma come from?  

I think the "pious fraud" folks must postulate that Joseph Smith fabricated a sham set of plates, or else colluded with unknown others to do so.  But how do they reconcile this affirmatively fraudulent act with the characterization of Joseph Smith being "pious?"  Doesn't it require us to view Joseph Smith as either profoundly mentally ill (he fabricated plates, showed them to others, represented them as being ancient, thus deceiving both himself and others) or else mendacious (being of reasonably sound mind, he deliberately and knowingly fabricated a set of fake plates and intentionally lied to and deceived the Witnesses and others about them)?

But the problems with the "pious fraud" theory don't end there.  In addition to requiring us to view Joseph Smith as profoundly mentally ill, the "pious fraud" folks must also account for the mental health and/or honesty of the Witnesses.  Were they insane also?  Did the Three Witnesses all lie?  Or were they somehow deceived into seeing the same illusion at the same time (an angel descending from heaven and showing them the plates)?   

And what about the Eight?  They claim to have seen the plates in mundane circumstances.  Were they all in on the scam?  Or where they deceived?

The "pious fraud" theory opens up several cans of worms.  It is, in my view, the least tenable of all the competing theories.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 8/20/2016 at 11:26 AM, Honorentheos said:

To try and demand a particular Book of Mormon claim be taken one way by someone with whom a person disagrees based on one particular piece of evidence is an example of trying to force others into a false binary choice.

I'd like to understand this better.  How is there a "false binary choice" in this context?  Joseph Smith claims to have had a physical object, a set of metal plates, which he represented to many other people as an ancient artifact which he claimed to have discovered buried in a hillside.

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession, or he did not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside, or it was not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact, or it was not.

There are all sorts of alternatives for exploring the second set of options given above, but these other options can all be grouped together.  

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

These seem to be reasonable dichotomies.  As you seem to disagree, could you explain how they are not?

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A person who finds the Book of Mormon scriptural but not historical is not obligated to have a fool-proof explanation for every possible demand to get back in the conforming box of the "historical or fraud" dichotomy as the person in that dichotomy expects.  Because that person in that dichotomy demanding historicity for the Book of Mormon is doing so with their back turned to the overwhelming consensus in the disciplines of science that confirm that dichotomy has been decided.

I don't understand.  Above you decry there being a "false binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon, but here you are asserting that this "dichotomy has been decided."

So which is it?  Is there a dichotomy ("binary choice"), or not?  

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A person can know they are touched by the Book of Mormon's message, by something said in the writings it contains. No one knows how it was actually written, who was involved, if there were physical plates, if the witnesses were complicit or sincere in belief of a heavenly visitation, etc.

Now I'm really confused.  

You started out by criticizing as "false" the idea of there being a "binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon (Option A: The LDS Church's teachings, and Option B: Every alternative theory ever presented which contradicts the LDS Church's teachings).  

You then declare that there is a "dichotomy" (synonymous with "binary choice", I think) in play after all, and that it "has been decided."

And now here you are stating that "{n}o one knows" about the origins of The Book of Mormon ("how it was actually written, who was involved, if there were physical plates, if the witnesses were complicit or sincere in belief of a heavenly visitation, etc.").

I do not understand your position.  Could you clarify?

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The space grants a lot of room of pet theories to flourish on both sides.

And yet these "theories" all end up getting distilled down to a dichotomy:

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").
Quote

 

There's far less space for explaining how the Book of Mormon describes a culture, setting, and people that is not found in the archaeological record, the genetic record, the anthropological evidence, and demands one take certain stories from Genesis as accurate portrayals of history as well that are inconsistent with multiple branches of the sciences.

So, one should be embracing in brotherhood/sisterhood those who at least share the common ground of inspiration, IMO.

 

I agree with you (as to the second paragraph, not the first).  But I also think that we should explore and examine Option A: the theories being presented by people, both in and out of the Church, which contradict Option B: the teachings of the Church, the many statements of Joseph Smith, the statements from the Witnesses, and so on.

As J. Reuben Clark put it: “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

If these countervailing theories are not truthful, then they "out to be harmed," don't you think?

Can't we evaluate and critique these theories?

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

If we put aside, for the moment, what Joseph Smith sincerely believed, and instead go with what you think actually happened, does your above answer change ("Whether his experiences actually happened, i do not know of sure...")?

I personally believe that his experiences happened. I don't know whether they objectively occurred exactly as he said they did or if he has read interpretations into them, etc., but I believe he actually saw God, had an angel appear to him, obtained plates, etc.

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I agree with you.  There are also folks in and out of the Church who reject the historicity of The Book of Mormon but accept Joseph Smith's sincere belief that he had actually discovered an ancient artifact, a physical, tangible set of plates with volume and mass.  But what I do not understand is the "Pious Fraud" explanation for Joseph Smith.  If he was sincere-but-wrong (there were no angelic visitations, no buried plates, etc.), where did the physical artifact seen by the Witnesses and by Emma come from?  

I think the "pious fraud" folks must postulate that Joseph Smith fabricated a sham set of plates, or else colluded with unknown others to do so.  But how do they reconcile this affirmatively fraudulent act with the characterization of Joseph Smith being "pious?"  Doesn't it require us to view Joseph Smith as either profoundly mentally ill (he fabricated plates, showed them to others, represented them as being ancient, thus deceiving both himself and others) or else mendacious (being of reasonably sound mind, he deliberately and knowingly fabricated a set of fake plates and intentionally lied to and deceived the Witnesses and others about them)?

But the problems with the "pious fraud" theory don't end there.  In addition to requiring us to view Joseph Smith as profoundly mentally ill, the "pious fraud" folks must also account for the mental health and/or honesty of the Witnesses.  Were they insane also?  Did the Three Witnesses all lie?  Or were they somehow deceived into seeing the same illusion at the same time (an angel descending from heaven and showing them the plates)?   

And what about the Eight?  They claim to have seen the plates in mundane circumstances.  Were they all in on the scam?  Or where they deceived?

The "pious fraud" theory opens up several cans of worms.  It is, in my view, the least tenable of all the competing theories.

I'm a pretty liberal Mormon and don't believe many of the claims made by our leaders, but I really struggle with the idea of Joseph committing a "pious fraud", or the Book of Mormon being "inspired fiction". I'm happy to worship with people with such beliefs, but I don't understand how they square those beliefs with Joseph's claims, as well as the numerous claims of others. I think you've stated the problem very well. If we are to assume the "pious fraud" or "inspired fiction" narrative, I can only see arriving at one of two conclusions:

  1. Joseph intentionally made up stories about an angel, fabricated sham plates, and conned several others into false testimony or believing falsehoods (some people are susceptible to such things). This was all done for the "higher purpose" of restoring a church that, we'd have to conclude, was created out of whole cloth by Joseph. You have to somehow believe that the ends justified the means. If so, where is God's hand? How can one believe anything else Joseph claimed? What is revelation from God and what are the cons of Joseph? 
  2. Joseph was mentally unstable and believed he saw an angel and that some object he or someone else fabricated was the set of plates, all while not actually having those experiences. Again, how could Joseph possibly be credible in any other claim or teaching? Why would we believe anything else he taught? How can we trust any of the other people who had to somehow be in on it, despite knowing that Joseph was mentally unstable?

In effect, if either of those two options are chosen, why would we privilege at all the LDS Church over any other religion? The entire thing would be the fabrication of a well-meaning con man or a mentally unstable individual. What value does it have over any other religion at that point? It seems the only argument in its favor is that it is a wonderful place to follow in the traditions of one's fathers.

I've also heard the comparison of the Book of Mormon-as-"inspired fiction" to Job in the Bible. Job utilizes a common story (a similar story was circulating in Babylon, if I remember correctly) of "prosperity gospel" ideas as a base for a polemic against the idea of "prosperity gospel" (my favorite commentary on this is Re-reading Job by Michael Austin). The story of Job is not presented with an ornate historical foundation, replete with Job's actual clothing, Job's journal entries, or any other purported artifact claiming that Job was a real person. Joseph Smith made definitively historical-based claims for the Book of Mormon.

In my mind, the Book of Mormon and Joseph's claims either stand historically or the entire thing loses all credibility. Either it happened and he did his best to interpret those experiences, or he is a well-intentioned fraud, or he is a mentally unstable lunatic. I don't see any alternatives to those possibilities and, if it is not historical, it has no more power than Chicken Soup for the Soul in helping me return to God.

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9 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'd like to understand this better.  How is there a "false binary choice" in this context?  Joseph Smith claims to have had a physical object, a set of metal plates, which he represented to many other people as an ancient artifact which he claimed to have discovered buried in a hillside.

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession, or he did not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside, or it was not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact, or it was not.

There are all sorts of alternatives for exploring the second set of options given above, but these other options can all be grouped together.  

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

These seem to be reasonable dichotomies.  As you seem to disagree, could you explain how they are not?

I don't understand.  Above you decry there being a "false binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon, but here you are asserting that this "dichotomy has been decided."

So which is it?  Is there a dichotomy ("binary choice"), or not?  

Now I'm really confused.  

You started out by criticizing as "false" the idea of there being a "binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon (Option A: The LDS Church's teachings, and Option B: Every alternative theory ever presented which contradicts the LDS Church's teachings).  

You then declare that there is a "dichotomy" (synonymous with "binary choice", I think) in play after all, and that it "has been decided."

And now here you are stating that "{n}o one knows" about the origins of The Book of Mormon ("how it was actually written, who was involved, if there were physical plates, if the witnesses were complicit or sincere in belief of a heavenly visitation, etc.").

I do not understand your position.  Could you clarify?

And yet these "theories" all end up getting distilled down to a dichotomy:

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

I agree with you (as to the second paragraph, not the first).  But I also think that we should explore and examine Option A: the theories being presented by people, both in and out of the Church, which contradict Option B: the teachings of the Church, the many statements of Joseph Smith, the statements from the Witnesses, and so on.

As J. Reuben Clark put it: “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

If these countervailing theories are not truthful, then they "out to be harmed," don't you think?

Can't we evaluate and critique these theories?

Thanks,

-Smac

Hi Smac,

In general, I think the emic examination of the Book of Mormon as a believer leaves open any number of avenues to feel that it is a sacred text which provides some sort of meaning. In that regard, when those who are believers demand that other believers limit the means whereby they can accomplish this to examinations of it's historical accuracy, I believe said person has taken it out of the emic and into the etic. From the etic perspective, the question of if the Book of Mormon is an accurate portrayal of the history of the Americas from the period between around 600 BCE to 400 CE is no longer subjective. And it's falsifiable with a true or false answer. The science, and the secular non-emic view is decidedly against this being true.

So, as a believer, when you demand that other believers not engage the Book of Mormon in any other way that to define it by it's historical accuracy, you force them into a binary position. One where the answer to the binary position is the Book of Mormon is most likely a product of the 19th century rather than ancient and providing an accurate historical perspective regarding proto-Christians living in the Americas prior to the Spanish exploration.

Should a person who chooses to find meaning in the Book of Mormon be allowed to do so if they choose to set aside the demand the Book of Mormon be accurate as to it's perspective on history? I think the answer is a measured yes. People find meaning and spiritual value in sources they know aren't historically accurate in faith traditions the world over. I've already noted elsewhere the Book of Job is a classic example within the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Should the position be harmed if a person ignores examining the historical question while taking a fundamentalist position? I'm inclined to challenge that person myself, so sure.

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11 hours ago, Five Solas said:

I want to see what you see, Okrahomer.

:0)

So kindly, where might we find such Old Testament teaching that could reasonably (if erroneously) be understood to infer election to heaven and separately, election to hell (a.k.a., "double predestination"--as taught by some in the Reformed tradition)?  Chapters and verses, please!  (Seriously, for once I'd like to see someone make this argument without resorting to Romans 9.) 

;0)

--Erik

Well, these folks sure see predestination in the Old Testament.

http://predestination.com/Bible-Verses.html

 

Kind of supports his point about seeing what you want to see.

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10 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'd like to understand this better.  How is there a "false binary choice" in this context?  Joseph Smith claims to have had a physical object, a set of metal plates, which he represented to many other people as an ancient artifact which he claimed to have discovered buried in a hillside.

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession, or he did not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside, or it was not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact, or it was not.

There are all sorts of alternatives for exploring the second set of options given above, but these other options can all be grouped together.  

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

These seem to be reasonable dichotomies.  As you seem to disagree, could you explain how they are not?

I don't understand.  Above you decry there being a "false binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon, but here you are asserting that this "dichotomy has been decided."

So which is it?  Is there a dichotomy ("binary choice"), or not?  

Now I'm really confused.  

You started out by criticizing as "false" the idea of there being a "binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon (Option A: The LDS Church's teachings, and Option B: Every alternative theory ever presented which contradicts the LDS Church's teachings).  

You then declare that there is a "dichotomy" (synonymous with "binary choice", I think) in play after all, and that it "has been decided."

And now here you are stating that "{n}o one knows" about the origins of The Book of Mormon ("how it was actually written, who was involved, if there were physical plates, if the witnesses were complicit or sincere in belief of a heavenly visitation, etc.").

I do not understand your position.  Could you clarify?

And yet these "theories" all end up getting distilled down to a dichotomy:

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

I agree with you (as to the second paragraph, not the first).  But I also think that we should explore and examine Option A: the theories being presented by people, both in and out of the Church, which contradict Option B: the teachings of the Church, the many statements of Joseph Smith, the statements from the Witnesses, and so on.

As J. Reuben Clark put it: “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

If these countervailing theories are not truthful, then they "out to be harmed," don't you think?

Can't we evaluate and critique these theories?

Thanks,

-Smac

There is a non-Mormon scholar named Ann Taves who, I believe (it has been a while since I have read the paper) thinks that Joseph actually created the plates and then psychologically caused them to become sacred and actually had the experiences he said he had.

Remember she is a non-member!

Take for example the Catholic Eucharist which people know to be bread and then through the process of "transubstantiation" at the hands of the priest, it becomes the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ himself

Similarly, we take ordinary olive oil and consecrate it, and then it becomes "sacred".   At a temple dedication, we take a building and it becomes - for us pretty literally- "The House of the Lord"

The veil of the temple, which is just cloth, becomes "sacred"

We stand as proxies for the dead and become "them", and temple workers represent Adam and Eve etc.   Yes I know there are differences here- I just want to point out that we have certain perhaps analogous beliefs that the ordinary can become "sacred" though prayer, dedication or consecration.  Arguably even tithing funds become "sacred"

I once mentioned on a thread that in an emergency one could use consecrated oil to start a fire to prevent freezing to death and got a LOAD of disagreement, because it was "sacred".   That was right here on this board

Though I am not an expert on her beliefs, I believe these are accurate analogies for how how she believes the plates were created by Joseph and then made "sacred"

I do not subscribe to this view, but find the whole idea pretty interesting.  The view is generally based on the idea that "reality is what we make it" and there is no difference between mental reality and "real" reality for individuals, especially in spiritual matters.

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Abstract: The Mormon claim that Joseph Smith discovered ancient golden plates buried in a hillside in upstate New York is too often viewed in simple either/or terms, such that the plates either existed, making Smith the prophet he claimed to be, or did not, making him deceptive or delusional. If we assume that there were no ancient golden plates and at the same that Smith was not a fraud, then the task of historical explanation is more complex. Building on a review of the evidence for the materiality of the plates, the paper uses a series of comparisons -- between the golden plates and sacred objects in other religious traditions, between Smith’s claims and claims that psychiatrists define as delusional, and between Smith’s role as a seer and the role of the artist and the physician as skilled perceivers -- to generate a greater range of explanatory options. In light of these comparisons, we can view the materialization of the golden plates in naturalistic terms as resulting from an interaction between an individual with unusual abilities, intimate others who recognized and called forth those abilities, and objects that facilitated the creation of both the revelator and the revelation.

http://www.religion.ucsb.edu/wp-content/uploads/B-6-Golden-Plates-Numen.pdf

Edited by mfbukowski
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20 minutes ago, Vance said:

Kind of supports his point about seeing what you want to see.

Which also seems to be the underlying assumption of Ann Taves, as above.

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On 8/23/2016 at 6:54 PM, Vance said:

Well, these folks sure see predestination in the Old Testament.

http://predestination.com/Bible-Verses.html

 

Kind of supports his point about seeing what you want to see.

It's subtle, I realize, but what "Zoramites" are spoofing is "double-predestination"--the notion of election to heaven and separately, election to hell.  So your link actually misses the point.  These Nephite "dissenters" (as Joseph Smith calls them in Alma 31:8) are really his jab at English dissenters

Not what you want to see, I'm gonna guess.  But feel free to blame it on my vision...

;0)

--Erik

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16 hours ago, thesometimesaint said:

I'm probably the most liberal person on this board. The Church rests on the Truth Claims of its Scriptures. Take way them and the whole artifice crumbles to dust.

Don't know about you being the most liberal person on this board, but in my opinion, the Church rests on the testimony of the Spirit. There are members of the Church all over the world who have never read the scriptures.

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On 8/23/2016 at 7:54 PM, Vance said:

Well, these folks sure see predestination in the Old Testament.

http://predestination.com/Bible-Verses.html

 

Kind of supports his point about seeing what you want to see.

So does Garth Brooks! :)http://m.deseretnews.com/article/865615194/Garth-Brooks-pays-tribute-to-mothers-in-new-song.html?pg=all?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2F.   ETA: Oops, wrong word, I meant preexisted.

Edited by Tacenda
  • Upvote 1
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On ‎8‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 8:50 AM, Five Solas said:

I want to see what you see, Okrahomer.

:0)

So kindly, where might we find such Old Testament teaching that could reasonably (if erroneously) be understood to infer election to heaven and separately, election to hell (a.k.a., "double predestination"--as taught by some in the Reformed tradition)?  Chapters and verses, please!  (Seriously, for once I'd like to see someone make this argument without resorting to Romans 9.) 

And i suspect you'll dismiss this as coincidence too, but Joseph Smith even labeled the Zoramites "dissenters" who were familiar with the word of God (v. 8).  Interesting choice of word, that one.  Who might have been these Reformed "Dissenters?"  Let Wikipedia be your friend, right here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Dissenters

Their ranks included John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress.  Yes, Joseph Smith would certainly have known of this famous work (it was published in numbers second only to the Bible in Joseph Smith's day) and this movement in the Protestant Church.  

But again, it's all just coincidence, right?  The real true right answer must be in the Old Testament, somewhere, so it fits BoM chronology, somehow....

;0)

--Erik

 

Joseph attended various churches and read the Bible.  We know that for sure.  His vocabulary grew from his experience.  Given his youthful familiarity with the Methodists and other religions in the area, it would be surprising if he was not familiar with words and concepts like “dissenters” or “heaven and hell”.  I suppose it’s possible that he had delved into Calvin and Bunyan, but I find difficult to believe.  But even if he had, I fail to see why this is necessarily an anachronism. 

Joseph had a pre-existing vocabulary, and he used it.  So, where you see Joseph creating a parody of Reformed theology, I see him describing how the Zoramites mocked the Nephite religion, denied the prophecies of the coming Christ, and rejected the need to obey the Law of Moses--the real religion of the Zoramites was the accumulation of wealth.

Where you see Joseph inserting the history of the “English Dissenters”, I see him using his vocabulary to show that the Zoramites were political rebels harboring deep-seated hatred of the Nephite nation.  Where you see him plagiarizing “double predestination”, I see him using words he was familiar with to communicate how the Zoramites had twisted the idea of the "elected or chosen" people of God in order to justify themselves.

Where you see a crafty and extremely well-read Joseph, I see a humble Joseph struggling to find the right words—wherever he could find them--to convey concepts God revealed to him.

 

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On 8/25/2016 at 8:56 AM, Okrahomer said:

...I see a humble Joseph struggling to find the right words—wherever he could find them--to convey concepts God revealed to him.

In the immortal words of Okrahomer, "I guess one sees what one wants to see."

;0)

--Erik

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6 minutes ago, Five Solas said:

In the immortal words of Okrahomer, "I guess one sees what one wants to see."

In the more immortal words of C.S. Lewis:
521760.png

What kind of person are we?

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3 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

...

What kind of person are we?

"We?"  Who (or what) makes up the plural of this pronoun, JLHPROF? 

Not desiring to sound paranoid, but I fear my little thread has taken a turn for the weird (doubtless because I was reading H.P. Lovecraft not long ago).

;0)

--Erik

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23 minutes ago, Five Solas said:

"We?"  Who (or what) makes up the plural of this pronoun, JLHPROF?

The same person or group of people who would be the "one who sees what one wants to see."

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On 8/19/2016 at 2:05 PM, smac97 said:

God "inspired" Joseph Smith to create a work of "fiction" and then lie about it and present it as a translation of an ancient record.

That is how the "Inspired Fiction" concept works.

I suppose we have a few alternatives, though.  God "inspired" Joseph Smith to create a work of "fiction," and then Joseph Smith lied about it in his own right, without a commandment from God.  

Or God "inspired" Joseph Smith to create a work of "fiction" and Joseph Smith was so deluded/insane that he, as a "pious fraud," honestly thought his fictional work was a translation of an ancient record and communicated that concept to everyone around him.  For years.  

And somehow Joseph Smith was able to conceal this nonstop condition of insanity from those who knew him well (or else they noticed it, but they all conspired to keep it a secret).  

Of course, the "Pious Fraud" theory doesn't seem to account for the physical artifact which Joseph must have either fabricated himself or conspired with others to do so.  It also does not account for the experience of the Three Witnesses.  I guess they were all massively and profoundly mentally ill.  All at the same time.  And they all just happened to imagine the exact same things about the angel and the plates, or else they colluded in their insanity to piously lie about the angel and the plates.

Thanks,

-Smac

Which brings to mind, the Book Abraham, what's the difference? Now the church is saying it was more inspired than translated. Or if I'm wrong and this information is wrong, forgive me.

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12 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Which brings to mind, the Book Abraham, what's the difference? Now the church is saying it was more inspired than translated. Or if I'm wrong and this information is wrong, forgive me.

I don't care where any scripture comes from.  Virtually the entire D&C fell from the lips of Joseph.  Why should it matter if the Book of Abraham or the Book of Mormon did the same?
Nobody seems to care that Moses wrote Genesis or that Paul wrote Hebrews.  We are fine with Joseph writing D&C 4 based on a revelation.  Why do we care if Joseph wrote Abraham based on a revelation thinking it was a translation?  Because we have a double standard concerning our scripture.

Is the issue that Joseph said it was translation but it wasn't?
So Joseph looked at the papyrus and received the Book of Abraham.  Perhaps he thought that meant it was a translation and didn't realize it was direct revelation.
None of that matters and whether it was or wasn't "translation" doesn't make what he received any less true.

When it comes to our modern day prophets I think too many members like to give ourselves an out so we can only believe the bits we like. 
Kind of like an early Christian saying "Well, maybe that stuff Paul said was just his own opinion and not from God" or one of the children of Israel saying, "Well, maybe that part about honoring our Father and Mother was just Moses' idea".

Brigham Young - I know the Bible to be true in all its parts; It contains the words of the Gods, the words of angels, the words of devils, the words of men and, if you are very particular, the words of an ***.

I only care what it says and if it is correct doctrine.

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On 23 August 2016 at 6:01 PM, smac97 said:

I'd like to understand this better.  How is there a "false binary choice" in this context?  Joseph Smith claims to have had a physical object, a set of metal plates, which he represented to many other people as an ancient artifact which he claimed to have discovered buried in a hillside.

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession, or he did not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside, or it was not.
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact, or it was not.

There are all sorts of alternatives for exploring the second set of options given above, but these other options can all be grouped together.  

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

These seem to be reasonable dichotomies.  As you seem to disagree, could you explain how they are not?

I don't understand.  Above you decry there being a "false binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon, but here you are asserting that this "dichotomy has been decided."

So which is it?  Is there a dichotomy ("binary choice"), or not?  

Now I'm really confused.  

You started out by criticizing as "false" the idea of there being a "binary choice" about the origins of The Book of Mormon (Option A: The LDS Church's teachings, and Option B: Every alternative theory ever presented which contradicts the LDS Church's teachings).  

You then declare that there is a "dichotomy" (synonymous with "binary choice", I think) in play after all, and that it "has been decided."

And now here you are stating that "{n}o one knows" about the origins of The Book of Mormon ("how it was actually written, who was involved, if there were physical plates, if the witnesses were complicit or sincere in belief of a heavenly visitation, etc.").

I do not understand your position.  Could you clarify?

And yet these "theories" all end up getting distilled down to a dichotomy:

  • Either he had a physical object in his possession ("X"), or he did not ("Not X").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was something he had found buried in a hillside ("Y"), or it was not ("Not Y").
  • Either the physical object in his possession was an authentically ancient artifact ("Z"), or it was not ("Not Z").

I agree with you (as to the second paragraph, not the first).  But I also think that we should explore and examine Option A: the theories being presented by people, both in and out of the Church, which contradict Option B: the teachings of the Church, the many statements of Joseph Smith, the statements from the Witnesses, and so on.

As J. Reuben Clark put it: “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

If these countervailing theories are not truthful, then they "out to be harmed," don't you think?

Can't we evaluate and critique these theories?

Thanks,

-Smac

I've read many, many of your posts over the last few years. I've never agreed more with your thoughts than with these past two. I find them thoughtful and insightful.

My one reflection at this time is how, for some people, their interpretation of the feelings aroused from reading the Book of Mormon is IMO akin to how feelings can be aroused (manipulated) when watching a film. I can be brought to tears from watching a carefully performed, edited and produced scene. I can get warm, fuzzy feelings from a wide range of topics that actually have nothing to do with my reality. Of course, films can use music and setting to further enhance the effect, but there are certain ideas and topics that can trigger a following chain of emotions within me. 

When watching an emotional film, I seldom reflect over the reasons that I have been effected. I don't try to analyze how the film producer, director and actors have manipulated my emotions, although at times, I am aware of my embarrassment that my tears have been so easily coached out. 

I don't think I'm the only one who has had their well of emotions tapped for the purpose of selling movie tickets. 

When it comes to issues of religion, beliefs and faith, I also believe that emotions can be fooled, mislead and exploited, but that's just my opinion.

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3 hours ago, bcuzbcuz said:

When watching an emotional film, I seldom reflect over the reasons that I have been effected. I don't try to analyze how the film producer, director and actors have manipulated my emotions...

Otoh, there are those of us who do (I find it hard to believe I am that unique).  And there is a huge difference for me when the choice has been to rely on the easy manipulators to create false emotion rather than work at creating a moment which releases sincere emotion because of meaning (I am even reluctant to use the term "manipulation" here because of its frequent misuse elsewhere though in film meaning is an active work and thus is manipulation as well) and not decorative dressing, for example when passion/intensity is pretended to exist through intense music while what is really happening is flatter than a pancake.

I assume you could, if you wanted, be able to tell the difference between actual meaningful experiences and those that are created by mostly pure manipulation.  It may be more difficult to determine between experiences that mix the two.  There may be much overlap between manipulated emotion and emotion that is created through meaningful experience, but do you believe people are generally able to tell the difference between the two?

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18 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Which brings to mind, the Book Abraham, what's the difference? Now the church is saying it was more inspired than translated. Or if I'm wrong and this information is wrong, forgive me.

This is a *really* good question.  From my observation, many LDS appear to accept The Book of Abraham's origin was not what we were taught (back in the day).  And they've more/less greeted the new information with a shrug & carried on. 

But it appears to be an altogether different matter with The Book of Mormon.  Why is that?  They're both part of the LDS canon and were both "translated" (whatever that word means) by Joseph Smith.

--Erik

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35 minutes ago, Calm said:

Otoh, there are those of us who do (I find it hard to believe I am that unique).  And there is a huge difference for me when the choice has been to rely on the easy manipulators to create false emotion rather than work at creating a moment which releases sincere emotion because of meaning (I am even reluctant to use the term "manipulation" here because of its frequent misuse elsewhere though in film meaning is an active work and thus is manipulation as well) and not decorative dressing, for example when passion/intensity is pretended to exist through intense music while what is really happening is flatter than a pancake.

I assume you could, if you wanted, be able to tell the difference between actual meaningful experiences and those that are created by mostly pure manipulation.  It may be more difficult to determine between experiences that mix the two.  There may be much overlap between manipulated emotion and emotion that is created through meaningful experience, but do you believe people are generally able to tell the difference between the two?

That's an excellent question. And I am not sure. I think it is entirely possible that manipulated emotion and the emotion created through a genuine, meaningful experience can be confused with each other. 

Or let me put it another way. I have been fooled. ANd I thought I could tell the difference. My emotions have been fooled regarding romance and religion. ( and probably other areas as well)

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15 minutes ago, bcuzbcuz said:

Or let me put it another way. I have been fooled. ANd I thought I could tell the difference. My emotions have been fooled regarding romance and religion. ( and probably other areas as well)

Perhaps one of the limitations of having a relatively limited romantic life in terms of quantity.  I have never had the experience of believing I was fooled.  Nor have I felt fooled by emotion in other things, lack of knowledge or believing something that is false, but I don't remember where I believe my emotions led me wrong.  Perhaps because I have been reluctant to invest emotionally as well as secondguessed my emotions a lot.

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